Thursday, August 02, 2007

Admirable Restraints

While driving Pappy and neighbor-dog Molly home from the dog park last weekend, a pinhead idly pulled out of a driveway into traffic, panicked on seeing approaching cars from the other direction, and solved the problem by angling into my lane and coming to a dead stop. I came to a tire-incinerating halt with two dogs loose in the back seat, and thankfully they seemed to be unaffected. After the incident I happened to be heading into the same shopping center as her, and noted that she proceeded to drive diagonally across the rows of parked cars rather than use the access road. I've long since learned the futility of lecturing knotheads, so I took some deep breaths and let it pass.

My real point is that Pappy and I are getting ready to take a long drive to Maine in about a week, and this situation kind of brings home that I am a dope for not getting him some kind of safety restraint. Preferably a comfortable one that gives him the freedom to move around during a long trip. If there are any geniuses with wonderful solutions, I'd love to hear about it. And if it is something that is likely to be available at my local pet shop, even better-- special ordering will be a problem with this little time to go.


Gus said...

We got Gussie a harness at Pet Smart last summer before heading home to Azrizona(they still have them, we made our weekly pilgramage yesterday!) It is pretty simple, hooks into the seatbelt harness and allows some motion, but keeps them in the back seat. Stretch out, yes. Get what you dropped on the floor, yes. Sniff the other side of the car (well, it's not that big, so yes.) But it keeps him from venturing into the front seat, and locks if he moves suddenly or if the car comes to a stop. Supposedly you can also use it to walk them, but we haven't tried that. Sorry I don't remember the brand, but it is the fuzzy one with the sheepskin against the chest. Gussie does not love it, but grudgingly wears it. (Pictures in a post from last may or june, )

Gussies Muzzer

Elayne said...

Unfortunately this is something you will need to order but these are my favorite dog seatbelt harnesses:
After much research I decided these were the best. I have 3 dogs that get taken in the car a lot and they all wear those belts or ride in a strapped down crate. I know several agility people who've lost their dogs in crashes while traveling to/from trials, even dogs that were in crates but weren't secured.

Another option is:
You might be able to find that one at a pet store. I like the first one better because it's easier to put on and the hardware seems beefier but I know someone who's dogs survived a terrbile rollover crash while wearing these belts so they work well too.

If you can't find either in time for your trip you could get a temporary one of lesser quality from Petsmart (or wherever) then get a better one when you have time to order. Alternatively you can get some cam buckle straps at Home Depot and try strapping a crate down in your car assuming you have something that can act as a tiedown.

Pappy's Fella said...

Elayne and Gus' Muzzer,
I may have had a recommendation for the canineauto one before-- I remember seeing that site. It's good to see a couple of different recommendations, because they aren't wildly different designs. They mostly look like they probably differ in terms of comfort, fit, and strength. I might stop by our neighborhood pet store and see how theirs look.

Brody the Bulldog said...

Mom straps me up in the same Petco Harness that Gus talks about every morning when we go to work(sheep skin on chest---gives me that fuzzy Magnum P.I. Look)

Nugget said...

I've seen a few of the harness types in the pet stores; I am not sure how large they go.


Amici said...

We have the PETCO harness (fuzzy sheepskin for the chest area) too. We use it for walks (except when it is hot out). The one we have doesn't allow for walking around, but he can sit and lay down comfortably (the seatbelt goes through on of the straps on the back of the harness).

Good Luck. Have a safe trip to our state, Maine. :)

Jackson said...

I have a harness which attaches to the seatbelt on the back seat. I can't remember the manufacturer because I ripped the label off during a particularly boring journey. J x

Tin Tin Blogdog said...

I have a harness, but my ma's too lazy to use it. Probably 'cos as soon as I'm in the car, I hit the snooze button and off to z-land with me.

That's after an initial sit-up and snort out the window, or if the top's down, a general snort in anyone's direction.

Chow for now,

Tin Tin xo

Pappy's Fella said...

We went to Petsmart, but of course they only had the one I think people are talking about in Large. It's pretty much a guarantee that anything I am looking for in a store in my neighborhood is out of stock-- could be a product of too many of the same people looking for the same things, or just lousy inventory management.

I ended up getting the Top Paw harness in medium. It fits well, and seems to be very sturdy, possibly at the expense of easy use. It has a light fake-lambskin chestpad, but the main force of an emergency stop would mainly hit at the broad chest straps above and below the front legs. The loops are all continuous and connected by metal fixtures, so you have to slip it over his head then pull his paws through before clipping the plastic latch. This doesn't make it a cinch to put on, but the plastic latch is only for fit and isn't important to restraining the dog in an accident-- this is probably safer. The straps aren't those soft nylon ones, so I am not sure what the comfort would be for a fussy dog, and I don't know if a doggy escape artist could get out. Pappy doesn't fuss much with this stuff, and it seems to suit him well enough.

Roxie, Sammy and Andy said...

We have to travel in crates. Mom feels we are safer that way. We wish she would get seatbelts for us so we could look out the window. We end up just sleeping the whole trip.